Salento | Cocora Valley | Villa de Leyva & Raquira

Salento | Cocora Valley | Villa de Leyva & Raquira

There’s no shortage of cute, charming little villages in Colombia. That’s why we’ve listed our favorites: Salento and the Cocora Valley, Vila de Leyva and Raquira.



I invite you to read all our other articles on Colombia to help you prepare for your trip:



What a little marvel. Salento is really one of our favorites, a small town where you can easily put down your suitcases for a few days because it’s a great place to live! This village isn’t very big, but it’s got a lot of charm. Head to the center for lunch and a passion juice for us because we’re fans! You can’t get enough of the colorful balconies and streets, the smiling locals, the little stalls selling local produce, handicrafts and more. The town is small, so everything is concentrated between the main square and the shopping street that leads up to the staircase leading to the viewpoint. Nothing to get lost in! Take the opportunity to climb the many staircases and admire the sunset from above. Take your time to stroll around and enjoy the atmosphere.

In terms of restaurants, we recommend the Macao Restaurant for lunch, a place that opened in 2015 and offers well-stocked sandwiches with good bread, juice and more traditional dishes (Calle 4 No 5-59). For a more elaborate dinner, head for the charming restaurant whose name we can’t remember, but whose cosy, weathered wood decor is located on the shopping street. A must-see!

For those of you who would like to try Colombian coffee, we invite you to read our article on the subject here. We introduce you to an organic finca just a few kilometers from the village.



On our second day at Salento, (after a good cup of coffee overlooking nature) that we take a Willys, a jeeptowards the Cocora valley. Take calle 3. You’ll pass through hills populated by cows, farms, horses and Colombian-style gauchos. It’s a feast for the eyes! On arrival, the trail starts slowly and you walk for 2 hours through fantastic scenery, a valley of giant palm trees (some over 400 years old), climbing up to the hummingbird house. After paying the 5,000 COP/p entrance fee, we discover these marvellous, extremely lively little birds, busy foraging for nectar from the flowers with their long beaks. It’s a unique sight, so take your time to watch them and take good photos, which will also give you a chance to recuperate before continuing the loop, as the route continues with a steep 40-minute climb to the next little white house. To do this, don’t miss the 1st turning on the right as you come back from the hummingbird house, 300-400 m after the wooden bridge – or tree trunk, I should say… Alternatively, you can simply go the other way round. At the top, a beautiful view awaits you for a moment of relaxation in the sun.

Here you can enjoy a drink before starting the descent to your starting point, taking time to observe the valley and its wax palms, the emblematic tree of the region and symbol of Colombia.




  • Salento bus – > Armenia 1h15, cost 2100 COP/p
  • Local jeep to be shared by 8 for 3600 COP/pers
  • Cocora valley entrance: 5,000 COP/p entrance fee
  • For those who don’t feel like walking, this tour can also be done on horseback. It costs 45,000 COP per person for a round trip, and you’ll be accompanied by a guide.



This tiny village in Boyaca department is seductive, with its colonial-style homes, cobbled streets, large 14,000m2 central square and whitewashed walls. We soaked up the tranquil, peaceful atmosphere for a few days, taking time to wander around, strolling through the stores and watching the women knit on old looms, the ruanas, Colombian ponchos. A local market is held every Saturday morning. It was a chance to chat with the locals, sample a few dishes made in old cauldrons, buy some passion fruit and take your time. Time stood still for a moment! If you like horseback riding, it’s possible to visit los BLUE WELLS or market on the edge of the Iguaque National Park.




How to get there by bus from Bogotá, Terminal Salitre or Terminal del Norte?

→ Express bus to Villa de Leyva approx. 2 hours 30 minutes drive

→ Other buses make the journey to Tunja quite often. From there, take another bus to Villa de Leyva, a 45-minute journey.

→ Ticket price: approx. 25,000 pesos


  • For a taste of typical Colombian cuisine, head for the nearby central square, to the My Olive Green Kitchen (calle 13) in a pretty setting, in the middle of a patio in an old colonial house. Expect to pay around 15,000 pesos for a full menu.
  • For those who like their burgers fresh, homemade and affordable, try the Plaza Express (corner of Carrera 10 and Calle 12).


  • If you’re looking for colonial-style accommodation, you’ll find it in the streets adjacent to the square. Otherwise, a little lost in the mountains, there’s the Arcoiris hotel for more romantic accommodation. The only drawback is that it’s far from the city center. You can either take a cab or walk there, a 45-minute walk.
  • TheHospederia Villa of the Saenz familyhas a good reputation as it is about 5 minutes from the main square and has good prices. (From 90,000 pesos)



Raquira, capital of pottery, is probably even smaller than Villa de Leyva. It’s fairly close to Bogotá and Leyva (about 40 minutes’ drive), so perfect for a short getaway. Come and admire the murals, the handicrafts or take a stroll through this quiet village. The locals work with clay in attractive workshops or in stores adorned with hammocks and trinkets of all kinds. We simply adored this authentic little village where grannies knit. We took the opportunity to buy a pretty terracotta vase.

If you’d like to try your hand at pottery, there’s a young man named Alex who offers to show you around his village and factory (in Spanish). You can stay a few days in his cottages, or simply visit for the duration of the activity. Expect to pay around 30,000 COP/p for a 1-hour visit and production. (Tel: 57 321 308 2699)




How to get there by bus from Bogotá, Terminal Salitre or Terminal del Norte?

Journey time: approx. 3 hours
Price: approx. 22,000 pesos

From Villa de Leyva, you can drive directly to Raquira. Choose the bus companies that run the route via Zipaquira/Ubate/Guacheta

Journey time: approx. 40 minutes
→ Price: approx. 6,000 pesos
Departure times to be checked with the terminal: 6am – 8.30am – 2pm – 4pm – 5pm


You can go to Los Tiestos Restaurant and Events or Boyacenses Casseroles


So what do you think of these colorful little Colombian villages? Did you also fall in love with this country?

Before you leave, don’t forget to read all our other articles on Colombia to help you prepare for your trip:




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